College Republicans’ Ads Compare Politicians to Wedding Dresses

The College Republican National Committee on Wednesday launched a 16-state advertising campaign that compares politicians to wedding dresses, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The ads, which cost nearly $1-million and parody the popular TLC television show Say Yes to the Dress, chronicle a young woman’s quest to find the right wedding dress. She is fond of the Republican model—proven, no frills. But her mother likes the Democratic model—flashy and costly. Six nearly identical ads are viewable…


Jewish-Studies Scholars Condemn List of ‘Anti-Semitic’ Professors

Thirty Jewish-studies professors have released a statement condemning a group that circulated a list of professors in Middle Eastern studies whom it labeled anti-Zionist or anti-Semitic and urged students to avoid. The Amcha Initiative, an activist group whose mission is “to investigate, document, educate about, and combat anti-Semitic behavior on college and university campuses,” published the list, of more than 200 professors, who it said support an academic boycott of Israel.

Calling that pub…


To Help Community Colleges’ Students, Help Their Presidents

The Association of American Colleges and Universities has announced a new project aimed at improving community-college students’ success by better training the colleges’ leaders. The effort, financed with a $290,000 grant from the Kresge Foundation, will include the creation of an online hub to share best practices at community colleges nationwide, among other things.

This isn’t the first project that has focused on community-college presidents, droves of whom are expected to retire during the n…


Students at Virginia State U. Ask Top Administrators to Resign

Hundreds of students at Virginia State University rallied on Tuesday to protest budget cuts and to demand the resignations of three top administrators, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. The students criticized, among other things, a lack of communication between leaders and students regarding the historically black university’s financial problems. Students said administrators hadn’t sought their input before recommending cuts in student services.

Students were unaware of VSU’s financial difficulties, he said, but are now witnessing curtailed academic programs, larger class sizes, shuttered dorms and “closures in our cafeterias, which reduce our access to healthy meals.” The rally was held between the Gateway residence hall and event center, where the cafeteria was turned into a fast-food operation this semester.

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U. of Chicago to Increase Support for Low-Income Students

The University of Chicago is altering a range of policies to do more for low-income students, The New York Times reports. Among the changes, announced on Wednesday, are:

  • Student loans will be replaced with grants in cases of need-based financial aid.
  • Students applying for financial aid will automatically have the application fee waived.
  • The CSS/Financial Aid Profile will be eliminated as part of the application process for financial aid.

The changes, to be put into effect over five years, will…


Prisons Chief Rips Choice of Convicted Murderer as Commencement Speaker

The head of Pennsylvania’s prison system has harshly criticized students at Goddard College, in Vermont, for choosing as their commencement speaker a convicted murderer.

Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former radio journalist, was arrested in Philadelphia in 1981 and charged with murdering a police officer. He was convicted and sentenced to death, but his sentence was later reduced to life in prison. In 1996 he completed a bachelor’s-degree program offered by Goddard.

“I cannot express my disdain enough about Goddard College’s decision to allow this individual to be a commencement speaker,” John E. Wetzel, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, said in a news release.

But the college’s interim president, Robert P. Kenny, defended the students’ choice. In a statement released this week, he said their decision showed “how this newest group of Goddard graduates expresses their freedom to engage and think radically and critically in a world that often sets up barriers to do just that.”

Because he is in a Pennsylvania prison, Mr. Abu-Jamal will pre-record the address, which is scheduled to be delivered on Sunday, through a phone call.

A Vermont liberal arts college’s student selection of convicted police killer Mumia Abu-Jamal as their commencement speaker is drawing sharp criticism from Pennsylvania’s Corrections Secretary John Wetzel. Abu-Jamal, who received a bachelor’s degree from Goddard in 1996 while imprisoned, will deliver his speech via an audio recording to the 23-member graduating class of Goddard College this Sunday.

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U. of Mich. President Says He’s Sorry Concussed Player Was Left in Game

Facing growing public protests, the University of Michigan’s president on Tuesday apologized for how an on-field head injury to the football team’s quarterback was handled in a game on Saturday. The president, Mark S. Schlissel, also instructed the athletics department to conduct a review of its player-safety procedures.

In the game, a loss to the University of Minnesota, the quarterback Shane Morris took a hard hit and fell to the ground. After he stood, he had trouble staying upright. He remai…


U. of Calif. to Study Whether Campuses Enroll Too Many Out-of-State Students

The number of students from other states and from overseas who are admitted to the University of California has steadily risen in recent years as the institution—like other public higher-education systems around the country—has counted on the extra tuition they pay to help offset declining state support. The issue has raised fears among parents and lawmakers that state residents are being squeezed out.

On Tuesday the university’s president, Janet Napolitano, told the Los Angeles Times that she a…


Report Examines Fields With Highest Gender Imbalances Among Ph.D.’s

Report: “Exploring Gender Imbalance Among STEM Doctoral Degree Recipients”

Authors: Andrew Gillen and Courtney Tanenbaum, senior researchers in the education program at the American Institutes for Research

Organization: American Institutes for Research

Summary: Men are overrepresented in about three-quarters of academic fields, and women are overrepresented in about one-quarter, according a paper from the American Institutes for Research that examines gender imbalances in fields in which Ph.D.’s…


Education Dept. Has Lax Oversight of Third-Party Security, Audit Finds

Report: “Review of Federal Student Aid’s Oversight and Monitoring of Private Collection Agency and Guaranty Agency Security Controls”

Organization: Education Department’s inspector general

Summary: The Education Department is not doing enough to ensure that student-loan debt collectors and guarantors are safeguarding sensitive student-loan information.

With regard to debt collectors, the audit found that the department:

  • Allowed required security approvals to lapse, then let debt collectors cont…